There’s something fishy about this cab!
Mohammad “Goldie” Bahram tricks up his NYC yellow taxi every night, turning it into a disco wonderland of glowing spheres, flashing lights, water fountains, lush vegetation and videos of outer space.
And swimming along for the ride are five live goldfish. To keep them from flopping to the floor during the jostling ride, their bowl is carefully wedged between the driver’s seat and the window, with rubber balls above and below holding the tank in place.
The Astoria, Queens, hack fancies himself a driver-DJ, mixing party tracks with animal sounds on a touchscreen tablet in his lap.
When he stops at traffic lights, the 45-year-old native of Pakistan juggles an illuminated ball and performs tricks with a glittering wand.
Unsuspecting passengers hail the cab, unaware Narnia awaits them inside.
“You’re in a club, in paradise, in the middle of the freezing winter. I really felt like I was on vacation,” said Eric Efstathiou, who rode with Bahram from Chinatown to the Upper East Side one night last week, dancing and singing along to Ray Charles, The Black Eyed Peas and Lisa Loeb.
British pop star Charli XCX rode in the party-on-wheels last year, tweeting afterward that she “just had the best taxi ride of my life.”
“I want to create peace so that when people walk inside they feel relaxed,” said Bahram.
The origin of the traveling pleasure dome can be traced to the darkest time in Bahram’s life. In 2006, he was driving to his cab shift when lost control of his car on a rain-slicked Queens street and crashed into a tree. The resulting brain trauma and two steel plates inserted in his spine forced him out of work for four months. His face and neck still bear scars.
“That day changed the view of my life,” said Bahram, who has been driving cabs for 17 years, and works for Yakuel Taxi.
And so he resolved to spread joy the 12 hours he’s behind the wheel daily.
“Every time I try to do something to make beauty and to energize, it’s not just for me, it’s for everybody who rides in my cab,” said Bahram.